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The Butt Workout: Exercises to Sculpt a Better Backside

Foolproof butt exercises to maximize your assets.

The Butt Workout: Six Exercises for Glutes continued...

For an advanced version, progress to squat jumps, says Todd Durkin, CSCS, owner of Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, Calif., and trainer to 30 NFL athletes including Drew Brees. Each time you come out of the squat, leap off the ground.

2. Lunges. Beginning with your feet parallel and hip-distance apart, take a giant step forward or backward. Slowly lower your body, bending both knees. Bend your knees no farther than 90 degrees, keeping your front knee aligned over your front ankle. Step together and repeat.

Alternate legs or do all sets on one leg and then switch for a greater challenge, says Olson: "You're cutting the rest time by half, and even though you do the same amount, your legs will be working harder."

Beginners should stay in the lunge and just lower and lift by bending the knees, she says.

Ross likes tweaking a forward lunge to really target the glutes: While lunging, reach both arms down toward the floor outside the front foot (hold a medicine ball or light dumbbell for added challenge). Durkin adds a hop to alternate feet for the advanced client.

3. Bridges. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor, hip-width apart. Slowly peel your spine off the floor from the bottom, one vertebra at a time, tightening the glutes and hamstrings (backs of the thighs) until you've created a diagonal line from your shoulders to your knees. Return to the floor slowly, one vertebra at a time.

Olson likes the one-legged bridge: Hold the knees tightly together and extend one leg at knee level while in the bridge position. Do all repetitions on one side, then switch.

To take it to the next level, try the bridge on a stability ball. With the head and tops of shoulders balanced on the ball, lift the hips into a tabletop position, level with the shoulders, then lower slightly and repeat.

Advancing from there, lift into the bridge position on the ball, then take two baby steps to your left, changing the line of gravity so you're off-center, then drop and lift the hips. "The left glute should work a bit harder than the right," Ross says. This move, he emphasizes, requires good core balance and takes only a very small shift (2-4 inches) in lower body position. Do all the repetitions on one side, then switch.

4. Step-ups. Using a weights bench (a step would work, too), step one foot on top, then push through the top leg and glute to lift the bottom leg up and tap the bench. Lower and repeat using the same leg. Add hand weights or a knee lift with the tapping leg for a greater challenge, suggests Olson.

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